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13-16 December 2018

Villamoura Grand Prix

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On September 28, the 2018 SYC Nacra 17 Shanghai Cup and Nacra 17 Asian Championship officially opened in Dishui Lake, Shanghai. There are 12 teams from 12 countries and regions, with a total of 24 world’s top sailors competing on among each other.

In warm conditions with up to 13 knots of wind the experienced sailors found today’s conditions perfect for foiling, but challenging for racing. The sailors provided an amazing spectacle on the technologically advanced Nacra 17.

Teams checked over the wind and the charter equipment from 11:00. The first race started at 13:00 with all 12 boats crossing the starting line and the wind about 10-14 knots.

With 12 boats, flat water, and medium winds, it was decided to run 6 America’s Cup style races instead of the typical 4 windward-leeward races. As such, teams started on a reach to the windward mark, and then did a downwind leg, followed by a full lap, followed by a reach finish after the second downwind. 

Teams had little experience with reach strarts, so it was not surprising to see one of the America’s Cup team sailors grab the first advantage. As one of the top ten finishers at the  World Championships and the winner of the Kiel Regatta, Team GBR Gimson/Burnett lead at the first mark and maintained that place until the end of the first race.

Gimson worked for Artemis Sailing during the last America’s Cup.

During the second race, the British team kept its leading position followed closely by Team China, while Team Japan had to abandon the race due to equipment problems. Team Hong Kong capsized close to the finishing line, but eventually managed to complete the race.

The wind kept getting stronger during the third race and Team GBR continued to lead, with Sweden and Australia following in the second and third place respectively.

With even better wind conditions, Team Austria – also one of the top ten 2018 World Championships teams and bronze medalist at the Rio Olympic – took the lead over the British team at the fourth race. Team China put up a great performance at this race finishing in third place.

During the fifth race, Team Japan was the first one to cross the finishing line but due to a penalty called by the judge, it ended up the last runner. Team China though managed to maintain the third place. 

At the last race of the day, the British team once again took the lead and completed the day winning first place in four out of six races.

A stronger wind up to 20 knots is expected for the second day of the race and we have yet to see if Team UK will be able to maintain its rank under those conditions.

Text Credits: Shanghai Cup
Photo Credits: © ICARUS Sports

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